Short-Reviews 3. The Snow Angel & Princesses of the Night

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Title: The Snow Angel
Publisher: Zephir [Thank you Netgalley for the review copy]
Published: October 5th 2017
207 pages

"Lauren St John's stunning Christmas classic is about forgotten children, the power of nature to heal us and a girl who will climb mountains in search for a place to call home.

Growing up in vibrant, crowded Nairobi, Makena has only one dream: to climb Mount Kenya like her hero, her mountain guide father. But when her beautiful world is shattered, she finds that in the city's dark places there are a thousand ways to fall, each more deadly than any crevasse. In a world of strangers, does she dare trust Snow, whose ballet dreams are haunted by a past she's still running from? And is the sparkling fox friend or foe?

After a fresh start in the Scottish Highlands turns bad, Makena flees to the mountains. But will they betray her or be the making of her?

"Hope was everywhere. It found its way up through the dirt and desperation like a wildflower struggling through a crack in an inner-city pavement."

After the tragic death of her parents, Makena’s world is shattered. Her dreams vanish in thin air and every day becomes a struggle to survive to the Kenyan slumps. The Snow Angel follows Makena’s journey that takes her from Africa to the Scottish Highlands, guided by a mysterious silver sparkling fox, looking for a new place to call home.

There are moments you want to hug Makena –for someone so young she goes through so much. Not only does she loses her parents, but faces the harsh reality of being an orphan in the slums and having no adult to rely on and ask for help. Her pain is so heartbreaking (especially when she learns that blood is not thicker than water). What makes Makena’s journey sadder is that thousands of children go through the same in real life and many people aren’t aware of it. However, it warmed my heart when Makena found a friend in Snow, an albino girl with dreams of becoming a ballerina who would always find happiness in the smaller things.

What I loved the most about this book was the beautiful writing style. The writing made the story seem so enticing and eerie –it reminded me of those magical old folktales. Moreover, the settings were so well crafted that they seemed vivid –from the hot Kenya to the snowy Scotland.

Lauren St. John makes the reader ponder on very tough themes, such as Ebola (a disease that kills thousands), children being kidnapped to work on factories, orphans on the slums that must scavenger the trash for food and so on.

The Snow Angel, a middle grade novel that should be read by all, conveys a very powerful message: you may find yourself in the darkest of the places, but never lose hope.

Title: Princesses of the Night
Publisher: CHBB  [Thank you Xpresso Books Tours for the review copy] 
Published: September 22nd 2017 [reprint]

"Tanya is a hardworking college student but her whole world is turned upside down when she meets a mysterious man on Halloween. All that she thought was fiction is now her reality. A night life filled with fangs and blood—and an evil vampire that wants her dead.

She and her friends are the chosen ones, destined long ago, to save this world from destruction. That’s not easy when your enemy is your sire’s son.

It’s always sad to see a book with an intriguing premise to fall short because of its writing and characters. I really wanted to love this novel since the narrator and I share the same name, but it was not my cup of tea. The story line was very slow and repetitive.

Princesses of the Night suffers from lack of revision and the characters are very flat –there was no character grow. All five girls –Tanya, Dannika, Makinzee, Serienna and Regina- seemed to share the same personality. For example, if one character got obsessed for not having her powers another character would react alike just one chapter later. And, every single one of the five girls loved Mark and the only reason they were sad to leave their old lifes was him. I mean, Serienna was studying to be a doctor and not once did she think about losing her life dream after being turned into a vampire. Also, Tanya kept flickering her opinion. She was full of contractions (one moment she would tell herself she wouldn’t call Lazirith (the vampire who turned her and her friends) “dad” and the next moment she does it).

At the end, they were too many characters to focus on and too little pages to develop them properly. It was really difficult to create a connection with any of the girls.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh with the writing since I did receive an e-ARC. However, I noticed the book was being republished and maybe this copy should not have seemed as unfinished as it did.

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